Arianna Huffington once said; “There will be plenty of signposts directing you to make money and climb up the ladder, there will be almost no signposts reminding you to stay connected to the essence of who you are, to take care of yourself along the way.”

The more I work with brave, big-hearted leaders who are living and breathing their way into a more vibrant expression of themselves, the more I get a clear sense the signposts that can guide us back to the truth of who we are.

In his book The Healing Space, Matt Licata writes “We turn from ourselves in difficult times. When we abandon ourselves, we often fall down the rabbit hold of dissociation, denial, shame, judgement, and blame and lose touch with the valid, human, and honourable inner experiences that longs for our attention, curiosity and care.” I define self-abandonment as suppressing, hiding, numbing, denying, fighting, disowning or ignoring parts of ourselves. Perhaps self-abandonment so much a guidepost but more of a flashing signal on the dashboard calling for our attention. This signal might take the form of exhaustion, stress, irritability, or overwhelm. Or perhaps feeling frantic, or scattered. Or perhaps it takes the form of sudden loss of our “give-a-sh#t”.

Whatever form the warning light takes, it’s wise to heed the signal.

So, assuming we feel ready to acknowledge these signals, how do we find our way out of the rabbit-hole of self-abandonment? I believe there are four foundational practices that can support and guide you. Together, these practices have the potential to support you to rekindle, celebrate and honour your most important and only truly enduring relationship – the relationship you have with yourself.

Signpost 1: Self-discovery  – I’m curious about my inner world

Self-discovery is first signpost that leads us out of the pain of self-abandonment. I define self-discovery as the practice of bravely exploring our inner experiences with playful curiosity.

Signpost 2: Self-awareness – I understand myself

This first signpost then leads the way to true self-awareness, which I define as the practice of understanding of the qualities of our essential nature and our many different parts.

Signpost 3: Self-leadership – I trust myself

Next, comes the cultivation of self-leadership which I define as the practice of leading our parts with a strong connection to our core so we can choose what we do and how we do it with wisdom, inner freedom, empowerment, congruence, and integrity.

Signpost 4: Self-fidelity – I’m true to myself

Finally, this leads us to self-fidelity, which I define the practice of being true to our essential nature, so we are empowered and enabled really be ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

Are you an unofficial authenticity ambassador in your organisation?

If you are a big-hearted leader who believes that our sense of belonging at work depends on feeling free to be ourselves authentically and imperfectly – I would love to talk to you. For a short time only, I am offering introductory pricing on my new program “How to Be True to Yourself at Work”. I would love to explore how we might bring this transformative evidence-based learning experience to your organisation. If you feel this might be valuable opportunity for your team, please reach out.

I am loving being part of your program. Our group sessions are an affirming and safe space to do the important work of self-leadership.

Jasmine Malki